Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

March 6, 2019  Page 9  

Contributed by "The Clark Co. Press"

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Compiled and Contributed by Dee Zimmerman


March 1869


The new bridge across the Black River at the Falls is completed, and it pronounced by the Banner as a very fine and substantial structure.  It is 710 feet in length and 20 feet in width. The main span is 168 feet.


A man hailing from Portage County arrived in town the other day with a bull hitched to a pung, in which the man was riding as unconcerned as a teamster behind a tote team. He guided the animal by means of lines fastened to a ring through the old bull’s nose. Destination – Loyal, Clark County.


(A “pung” was an antique style heavy-duty wooden sled, the runners being made of carved wood, that when assembled had only a few inches between the pung platform and the ground. A horse or oxen-drawn pung was built solid enough to carry heavy loads. DZ)                                      


A few of our young folks in town no thinking it right that such an eventful day as that upon which our new President was inaugurated, should pass by without some little demonstration in Neillsville, surprised “mine host” of the O’Neill House by making a raid upon his hotel last Thursday evening and demanding the use of the hall. It is not Johnson’s nature to refuse anything of this kind. He could see through it all in less than a minute, and without stopping to enquire “why these things were thus,” he went in to make the stay of his guests agreeable, which he did in a truly commendable style. Dancing continued until about two o’clock the next morning. About twelve midnight a good supper was gratuitously served. The O’Neill House is deservedly growing popular with Mr. Johnson as landlord, as is abundantly testified each day by a house full of guests.


Clark County’s Hardware Store!

O.P. Wells, Owner

Selective Stock of Goods, Consisting of – Cook, Parlor & Box Stoves, Shelf and Heavy Hardware.

Large Supply of Plows, Iron and Steel – Bar Iron, Shoe Shape, Nail Rod, and Bolts.

Spades, Shovels, Hoes, Grub Hoes, Pitch Forks, Rakes, Cradles, Sickles, Hay and Harvest Tools.

Lumberman’s Supplies – Whorf’s Celebrated Axes, Broad Axes, Adzes, Saws & Files.

Horse and Ox Nails, All Kinds & Sizes for Shoeing.

Carpenter & Joiner Tools, Swash, Glass & Putty.

Our Store is in New Building opposite Neillsville House.


The season for logging this year is about closed. Camps are breaking up every day, and our town is crowded with men coming out of the woods. Logs are still being put in on short roads, but with a continuation of the present mild weather, further operations in camp will cease before ten days. The winter has been a good one for lumbermen, and there were not many who have failed to fill their contracts.


(The newspaper publishing date for this issue was March 24, 1869. DZ)    


Shaking Hands – How natural it is for us to clasp the hand of an ardent friend, for kind shake and a “How do you do?” We do learn much of a man or a woman by the shake of the hand.


The hand coldly held out to be shaken and drawn away again as soon as it decently may be, indicates a cold if not a selfish and heartless character, while the hand that shakes yours, and unwillingly relinquishes its warm, hearty clasp, belongs to a person with a genial disposition, and a ready sympathy with his fellowmen. Much of our true character is revealed in shaking hands. As we shake hands, so we feel, and so we are. If the grasp is warm and vigorous, so is the disposition. If it is cold, informal and without emotion, so is the character. If it is Magnetic, electrical and animating, the feeling is reciprocal. We like a warm, manly-shake of the hand, to donate that the milk of human kindness has not become sour or curdled in the bosom within.


A shake that signifies that the man is not suspicious of his fellowman, that he is a warm-blooded animal, and that his hand is not an icicle, and possesses more animation than the tail of a dead fish.


(I remember my dad shaking hands with whomever he had made a business deal agreement. A handshake was as good as a handwritten signature on a legal document that each party had promised to abide by. It was an old custom of honor and promise. DZ)               


March 1939


W.L. Murphy, county board member from Dewhurst had a harrowing experience last Friday night when his new automobile crashed into the guardrail on the Black River Bridge on Highway 95 near Lake Arbutus.


The car skidded on ice and rammed into the rail. One front wheel went off the bridge. However, the rail held and saved Mr. Murphy and his car from a 17-foot plunge to the  river below. The water at that point is 14 feet deep, and the ice had been removed but a short time before from the spot where Hr. Murphy and his car would have fallen, had the rail not held.


The front and side of the car were damaged.                           


The Walter Pollnow family of the Town of Hewett became disturbed last week when the pet of their household, “Collie,” a huge Scotch sheep dog, was driven from his kennel by a cat. When the feline persisted in holding the fort while Collie paced the yard a good two rods from his favorite lounging quarters, Walter thought it was time to show Tabby her place and now he doesn’t know what to do about it either. It’s a pole-cat.


(Pole-cat is another name for skunk. At Least “Collie” had sense enough to stay away from the skunk. Some dogs aren’t that smart. DZ)                                                          


Nearly 400 cords of pine in eight-foot lengths is piled in Neillsville, awaiting transportation to the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Co. The pine is being first freed of bark by local men, who strip it off by hand labor, mostly with axes. On Wednesday, The Press found the following at work on the pine pile: Otto Kutchera, John and Ernest Gaden, Otto May and Walter Zank.                                                


Meats – can either be the best and tastiest eatable, or the most discouraging part of a meal. No one realizes this more than we do, and no one tries harder to give the best! We handle only unquestionable.



Bollom’s Market


(A place where you could buy only one pork chop if desired. DZ)  


Next Wednesday will be the last day for those wishing to be come citizens of the United States at the June 13 hearings to file their second naturalization papers, according to Ben Frantz, clerk of circuit court.


All second papers must be filed at least 90 days prior to the hearing, which would place the date on March 5. Well over 50 in Clark County already have filed second papers, and will be given their hearing this year, Mr. Frantz stated.


Included in this number are three men who had been working on the WPA, but who, it was learned after a careful check of their affidavits, were not citizens, as they had believed.


Mr. Frantz announced that citizenship “:schools” for those seeking citizenship probably will be started within the next week or two. It is planned to conduct the schools in Thorp and Withee.


Members of the St. Mary’s Catholic parish have started razing the old school building north of the new church in preparation for the erection of a new parish school on which work is expected to start this spring.


It is on site of the old school building, one of the landmarks of this section of the county, that the members of the parish and their priest, the Rev. Joseph Biegler, are making plans of erecting the new school. The building, according to present plans, will cost in the neighborhood of $24,000.


Many parish members have come forward willingly with offers of donations of both time and money for the construction, and Father Biegler has also been working tirelessly toward this end for several months.


Plans for the building are being drawn up by A.F. Billmeier, Wisconsin Rapids architect, and are expected to be finished within a month. According to present conceptions, the building is to be of brick and concrete construction. It will be a two-story structure with a basement.


Unless something interferes, the school will be completed in time next fall to start the first Catholic parochial school since 1923.


The building, which is now being razed, housed St. Mary’s from the time of its construction  in 1887, until 1923. It was one of the early brick buildings erected in this section of the city.


However, the fire, which destroyed the old St. Mary’s Church in 1923 marked the end of the brick building’s place as a school; for from that time 1924, while the first portion of the new church was under construction, the school was used as  the church. The old school was brought into use again last summer when summer school was conducted there.                                                                    


A benefit Chinese Checkers party for the Neillsville Flyers baseball team will be held Sunday night in the party room at Wagner’s Café. The party previously was scheduled for Friday night. Ten prizes will be awarded.


(Chinese Checkers was popular at the time. I haven’t known of anyone who plays the game now. A few years ago, I found a Chinese Checkers board with marbles needed for the game stored up in our house attic, a memory of the past. DZ)                                                              


Stripped of accessories, an automobile belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Anding of Granton, was recovered in Marshfield by Sheriff Herman J. Olson and Traffic Officer Lewis Bradbury last Saturday night, a few hours after it had been parked near the Naedler garage by Mr. and Mrs. Anding while they were shopping.


Editor’s Note: The following story about logging on Black River as the end was approaching is taken from an edition of the Galesville Independent, which was printed in 1898.)       


The days of logging industry on the Black River are numbered. The supply of standing pine has been diminishing year after year and now, today, a comparatively small portion of it remains. Whole towns in Jackson, Taylor and Clark counties, which once were covered with pine forests, are now barren and desolate, black, pine stumps only remain.


Twenty or twenty-five years ago the lumbering business on Black River was in its prime. Lumbering camps doted the whole of the Black River country. Fully 2,500 men were employed every year, and from 1868 to 1881 these 2,500 men cut and rolled into the river 200,000,000 feet of logs annually.


The lumbering industry was immense, there were millions of dollars in it. Cities and towns sprung up along the Black And employment was offered to all who came. Every year, about the middle or first part of November, men made their way “to the woods,” where the winter days were spent in hard work. From 3 in the morning until 8 or 9 o’clock the men toiled until spring opened. This has been going on for 30 years, but a halt will soon come. This year only 80,000,000 feet of logs will be taken out, while the available amount of timber left is only  225,000,000. This seems to be a big lot, but when one glances back over the records and fins that “Bill” Price and his crew of 500 men cut and “drove” down the Black one season 100,000,000 feet of logs, the remaining amount of pine seems almost insignificant. Bill was quite a lumberman, though, and his season’s work is considered a big one.


Lumbering on the Black is practically over, but the good old stream has made thousands of men rich and no less than a score of millionaires. Trow, Bright, Paine, Birchard, Elliot, Brockway, Nicholas, Mills and others grew rich at “the Falls” but the gibber ones posted themselves at the mouth of the Black. Of these, the most noted are Withee, Coleman, Gile, Sawyer, Austin and Washburn.


In getting rich, “these men, as the Black River Improvement Co.,” transformed the once deep, beautiful stream to a shallow river filled with sandbars. They have literally spoiled the Black forever. Cities and towns now situated upon it are generally dead. It was a blessing that the founders of this city (Galesville) built the first foundation two miles away from the then beautiful stream.


(The Black River starts as a small stream northeast of Medford, making its path southwestward past Galesville and empties into the Mississippi River. Through its route, there is varied terrain, as much of the Clark County portion has a riverbed of rock, as the river travels on the west side of Neillsville, large granite rock can be seen at the river bottom when the water is low. As the river goes through its southern route, there is a sandy soil, it is now a quiet river, not receiving much attention unless a high runoff of water his it.

I remember my husband, who in his younger years went fishing in the Black River between here and Greenwood, saying as he got older, “I have to quit wading the Black while fishing for bass because the rocks have become too slippery.” In other words, as he got older his reaction time had slowed and he had taken a spill or two into the river. DZ)




This winter of 1942-43 photo was taken one mile east of Neillsville, U.S. Highway 10, then about three-quarters of a mile south on Owen Avenue. Albert Mashin and his daughter, Joyce (Becker). Are shown standing on top of the snowbank along the side of the road.


(I remember those high snowbanks when I was kid, and we would slide down the back side of them into fields on our 2-runner sleds. Dmk)





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